Talking Shop with… Olivia Grosbois

The director of the SIAL Group says Paris is a perfect opportunity for retailers to explore new products and cuisine.

Grocery Headquarters: Tell us about SIAL Paris 2012, taking place Oct. 21-25.
Olivia Grosbois: Over the years, SIAL has become an efficient business meeting place and a forward planning arena that highlights innovations, elucidates trends and initiates new food fashions.

As organizers, our role is to provide a stage for the rich product offering and know-how, to promote talents and adapt and react to visitors’ and exhibitors’ needs all while fostering an efficient business climate.

Our priority is to guarantee a good return on investment, the yardstick being the 140,000 visitors, 6,000 exhibitors and 1,500 journalists expected. SIAL 2012 provides an offering that is well-balanced between large and small companies from some 100 countries.

The SIAL 2012 Food Connections concept is not just a slogan but a reality, reflected by an international show that is directly linked to the markets.

SIAL is a global event that assembles the majority of professionals targeted—central purchasing groups, retail, local stores, food industries, importers/exporters, etc.—who are on the lookout for new products and services, innovations, suppliers and fresh to attract the customers of tomorrow.

How important is it for retailers to include more imported merchandise in their mix?
The biggest trend in food and hospitality is globalization. In fact, globalization is so big that it is really more of a fact of life than a trend. Ethnic products that are distributed worldwide make it a real value to increase imported products for retailers.

Why should U.S. retailers attend this show?
The main benefits are to be at the heart of the food markets and to be connected to the entire global food chain.

SIAL is also an exhibition to explore, an exhibition that provides a unique overview of innovative businesses and trend-setting products and we will highlight these trends and innovations with numerous events. We are deeply committed to this forward planning, as demonstrated by the different exhibitions organized by us, not only in France, but also in China, Canada, Brazil and the Middle East.

Similarly, different awards given at the show reward and highlight talents: the SIAL Innovation awards trends and innovations with products that provide added value for the consumer; the Disney-SIAL awards innovations for children; Intermarché selection, a life-size consumer test; and the SIAL d’Or, which highlights innovations that have been commercially successful.

What is the best way for retailers to work this show?
Any visitor to a major trade fair is concerned with finding their way through the many and varied offerings and about saving time by meeting as many companies and making as many contacts as possible. SIAL organizes its halls so as to be an exhibition that is easy to get around. For greater efficiency, theme trails shed special light on the exhibition, save time and help visitors avoid getting exhausted.

SIAL has bolstered the event along four lines:
•Innovation is on display at the new SIAL Innovation Observatory, which reveals the most recent products in three categories, and SIAL d’OR.
•Information is constantly updated by the SIAL TV studio, which broadcasts debates, round tables, conferences, interviews, viewpoints, media coverage and more.
•A feast for the senses occurs La Cuisine by SIAL, a gastronomy area echoing the wine sector with its Wine Innovation Forum.
•The SIAL OFF event enables attendees to explore the festive hotspots of the French capital.

SIAL is also a welcoming exhibition to visitors. Improving our welcome is more than just a promise; it is now a reality thanks to the information desks spread throughout the exhibition. SIAL has consolidated its overall architecture and accessibility thanks to clearer signposts, rest areas, working and meeting spaces.

Visiting SIAL 2012 will be easier thanks to specific itineraries based on growth markets and development opportunities, including: a private label trail; individual theme trails focusing on organic products, quality labels, nutrition and health, snacks and takeaway sales, responsible and sustainable approaches, halal products, kosher products, etc.; and a new SME trail to help buyers identify small companies and small producers.

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